- BY ALISON STEPHENSON
JUST like a band or gang of superheroes needs members who have different talents and powers, a circle of friends should have exactly the same thing.
“It’s important to have diversity and to be able to look for support from a variety of sources,” says clinical and coaching psychologist and founder of the The Positivity Institute, Dr. Suzy Green. “They also help us to keep broader perspective on life.”
“You need different types of friends in the same way that you need food from different food groups. Different types of friends serve different purposes and nourish and enrich our lives in different ways.”
While many of us are lucky to count our real friends on one hand, there are certain types of people it’s good to have around. So, how many do you know?
THE FRIEND WHO’S COOLER THAN YOU
The world changes quickly and some people are just that little bit better at keeping up with what’s hip than we are. Like those friends who know that NO ONE EVER says “hip” any more, for instance. We like to be around these people, because they’re a beacon of cool. Cool things just flock to them. These are the people who help you to open your eyes, have a flow-on effect for introducing you to other cool people and help to unstick yourself from the rut that’s all too easy to get bogged in. “These people enrich your life by exposing you to things that may have otherwise have passed you by,” says Bertolucci.
THE FRIEND WHO IS UP FOR ANYTHING
People are busy, we get it. But there’s nothing more frustrating than having to reschedule your re-re-re-scheduled catch-up. Everyone needs a friend who you can call at the drop of a hat. A friend who says “hell yeah, I’m up for that”. That’s why it’s good to have a mate who you don’t need to issue a 28-day notice to just to meet for a frappuccino. It’s refreshing (the friend, that is, not necessarily the frappuccino.) “This friend is the flexible, no frills friend who makes your life a breeze. Nothing is ever too hard and they’re open to doing new things and changing plans at short notice,” says Dr. Green. While Bertolucci agrees, “Their enthusiasm is contagious and you always have more fun when they are around.”
THE FRIEND WHO YOU ASPIRE TO BE
Oprah Winfrey once said: “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher”. And we all need to live life a little bit closer to Oprah. These people challenge you to be the best version of yourself. The only downside is that sometimes they can be infuriating and inspiring in equal measure. Dr. Green’s advice: “This friend is only an important role model if they behave in ways that are authentic and genuine. They will see the best in you and give you important feedback on both your strengths and weaknesses.”
THE FRIEND WHO DOESNT KNOW ANY OF YOUR OTHER FRIENDS
We like integration. We like killing two birds with one stone by catching up with several groups of friends at once. But there are times when you need to make an S.O.S call to a friend who is completely uninvolved and removed from a situation who can offer objective advice so it a bonus that your friendship exists without orbiting around your other ones. “There is a level of privacy to this friendship that doesn’t exist in friendship circles,” says Bertolucci. “It will be easier to share some of your hopes and dreams, fears and concerns knowing that they are not going to be discussed when you’re not around.”
THE FRIEND WHO’S PAINFULLY HONEST
An honest friend will not always tell you what you want to hear, but they’ll certainly tell you what you need to know like if he/she is really that into you. When you’ve got a crisis on your hands or need to make a quick decision they are your go-to. They’re also there to keep you away from mixing paisleys and stripes. This type of friend has the strength of “feedback” and “is a pearl who will tell it to you straight when others won’t or will sugarcoat things at the very least,” says Dr. Green. But she warns that this friend is someone who does it with good intentions and for your own benefit.
THE FRIEND YOU’VE KNOWN LONGER THAN YOU’VE KNOWN YOURSELF
History. Sometimes it works to your advantage, other times it doesn’t. This is that friend who sees you out of the context of your job, your relationship, your other friends and your life as it is now. This is the friend who knew you when you had pimples and a bowl cut. There is something special about this person because they feel like home. It’s nice and comforting to be around someone who has known you forever. “This is a friend you never have to put on a brave face for,” says Bertolucci. “They know you better than you know yourself and accept you unconditionally.”
Can you name any other types of mates you have in your friendship toolbelt? Which one is most important to you? Leave your comments below.